S tet B IWOC: How to Use It to Get a Great...

25 YEARS
THAN
MORE
FOR
SERVING CHICAGOLAND COMMUNITIES
Independent Writers of Chicago
Stet
APRIL 2008
VOLUME 27 NUMBER 4
THE NEWSLETTER OF THE INDEPENDENT WRITERS OF CHICAGO
APRIL MEETING
IWOC: How to Use It to Get a Great ROI
INVESTING IN AN IWOC MEMBERSHIP HAS MANY BENEFITS. LEARN HOW
TO BEST USE IT TO IMPROVE YOUR BOTTOM LINE FROM THOSE WHO
HAVE DONE JUST THAT: OUR OWN SUCCESSFUL MEMBERS.
BY DAVID EPSTEIN
B
ernanke says the “R”
word. Some pessimists have muttered
the even more dreaded “D”
word! Stocks are swinging not sweet, but low.
Bonds are busted. Can
banks be trusted?
Brother—and sister—if you can still
spare a dime, how
can you turn it into a
dollar? Our hot investment tip is an IWOC
membership.
Next Tuesday,
April 8, a roundtable
of members will tell
just how IWOC has
helped them find and
keep clients and give
specific ideas other
IWOC members can use
to increase their success.
The panel, including Jim
Kepler, Jennifer Lyng,
Catherine Rategan and
Jeff Steele, will draw on
their own experiences to
show how an investment
in IWOC can produce
positive financial returns
in addition to the intangible benefits of hanging
out with other writers and
enjoying good company
and lively conversation.
The panelists will talk
about getting jobs through
Writers’ Line, client leads
that began by exchanging
referrals with other IWOC
members, business that
developed from talking
with speakers at IWOC
meetings, and many other
ways that their active participation in IWOC has
helped them build their
clientele and enhance their
professional network.
Audience members will
also learn from the panelists’ real-life wisdom
about how to get and keep
clients, and how to develop new assignments into
long-term client relationships that produce repeat
business.
So—unless you already
have more clients and
assignments than you
can handle—come next
Tuesday, April 8, and
hear how you might
achieve that happy
state. And if you are
already overloaded with
work, come anyway,
because everyone needs
a break sometime.
Networking with
snacks and beverages begins at 5 p.m.
and the meeting at
6. Nonmembers are
cordially invited. The
meeting is free for
IWOC members and $15
for nonmembers. Plan
to stay for a buy-yourown dinner at a nearby
restaurant after the meeting. Remember: the location is National-Louis
University, 122 South
Michigan, Room 5008.
This is now our permanent room. National-Louis
U. is across the street
from the Art Institute. See
you there!
Officers
President:
Roger Rueff 630/428-3857
[email protected]
Executive Vice President:
Catherine Rategan 312/266-8146
Treasurer:
Barbara Dillard 312/642-3065
Secretary:
Diana Schneidman 630/771-9605
Parliamentarian:
Harry Karabel 219/921-0877
Board of Directors
Charles Coffin 847/674-2906
James Hodl 773/777-5710
Noreen Kelly 312/988-7562
Joen Kinnan 708/366-8573
Jennifer Lyng 773/769-5291
Committees
Directory:
Joan Franke 847/636-2213
Marketing:
Cathy Dusberger 312/382-1808
Publicity:
Amy Lillard 312/543-3264
Katherine Mikkelson 847/253-3681
Laura Stigler 773/248-0158
Membership:
Jeff Steele 773/481-0010
Katie Valentino 630/946-9500
Programs:
Lori Parker 773/761-1473
Dave Epstein 708/567-9705
Seminars:
Clare Curley 773/525-6928
Benefits:
Jean Van Rensellar 630/363-8081
Writers’ Line:
Dianne Rowland 630/834-0209
Ellen Krupp 815/578-0295
Becky Maginn 773/935-8410
Web Site: www.iwoc.org
Joen Kinnan, webmaster
[email protected]
Stet is published 11 times per year
by the Independent Writers of
Chicago, PMB 119, 1800 Nations
Drive, Suite 117, Gurnee, IL 60031,
847/855-6670. Internet address: www.
iwoc.org. Copy submissions and
advertising materials are due by the
15th of the month preceding publication. All submissions and ideas
will be considered. The subscription
rate of $1 per year is included in the
annual membership dues. Copyright
©2008 by Independent Writers of
Chicago.
Editor:
Joen Kinnan
Contributors:
Richard Eastline, David Epstein,
Joen Kinnan, Roger Rueff, Karen
Schwartz, Martha Turner
PRESIDENT’S COLUMN/ROGER RUEFF
The Remote Possibility
A
good friend of mine
called the other day
to let me know that
she signed up to volunteer
at the next Parliament of the
World’s Religions, which
is scheduled to be held
in Melbourne, Australia
in December 2009. The
Parliament is a gathering
of people from around the
world, the goal of which,
according to its website, is “to
deepen our spirituality and
experience personal transformation; recognize the humanity of all and broaden our
sense of community; foster
mutual understanding and
respect; learn to live in harmony in the midst of diversity; seek, peace, justice, and
sustainability; and actively
work for a better world.”
Now that’s a tall order.
My friend called to tell
me the news of her volunteerism because I’m the
one who alerted her to the
Parliament’s existence.
Although neither of us is
religious, we share a common interest in things that
have to do with spirituality
(broadly defined) and the
health of the world community at large. I knew about
the Parliament because I had
attended the one held at the
Palmer House in Chicago in
1993—the first time it had
been held in 100 years. And
it was amazing.
Imagine 8,000 people from
all over the world gathered
in one place to find common
ground between disparate
systems of thought—to
celebrate their beliefs and
traditions and, at the same
time, to expose themselves
to the beliefs and traditions
of others. Imagine leaders
of the major world religions
convening to create and
adopt a document called,
“Declaration Toward a
Global Ethic,” the introductory words of which are,
“The world is in agony… so
pervasive and urgent that
we are compelled to name
its manifestations so that the
depth of this pain may be
made clear”—and the final
appeal of which includes the
caveat, “Without a willingness to take risks and a readiness to sacrifice, there can
be no fundamental change in
our situation.”
Imagine two huge ballrooms packed to the symbolic rafters with attendees
adorned in colorful native
garb listening to plenary
sessions on subjects such
as: “What Shall We Do?”
(about the threat of overpopulation), “Visions of
Paradise and Possibility,”
and “The Inner Life.”
Imagine a spiritual buffet
table of seminars and lectures with titles like: “The
Operation of Zarathustra’s
Moral Imperative in the
World Today,” “Etheric
Purification of the PsychoSphere,” “Spiritometry—the
Scientific Step Towards
God,” and “The Spirituality
of Menopause.”
Imagine a performance
series dedicated to the
non-verbal expression of
religious beliefs, including: “The Declaration of
Innocence,” “The Accidental
Mystic,” and “Isis of 10,000
Names.” And an exhibition
hall filled not with the latest high-tech paraphernalia
but with reading material
and courteous advocates
from a cornucopia of
2
major “isms”—Humanism,
Judaism, Islam, Catholicism,
Buddhism, Hinduism,
Taoism—as well as a lot of
smaller and/or lesser-known
groups, such as: Baha’i
International Community,
Anthroposophical Society,
Theosophical Society, City of
God, Earthspirit Community,
ECKANKAR, Federation
of Zoroastrians, Federation
of Readers of the Urantia
Book, Institute of Jainology,
Sikh Religious Society, Sri
Aurobindo Association,
Swedenborgian Church,
Temple of Understanding,…
and Boy Scouts of America.
Now imagine all this coming together in an age without email—an era in which
most people still communicated on paper or over the
phone. Astounding.
It should come as no
surprise that my strongest
memory from the 1993
Parliament comes not from
any one performance or session—or even the experiential
sum—but from something
unplanned that reminded me
that we are, in some ways,
merely vessels for our ideas…
their standard bearers and
defenders.
What happened was this…
The second day of the
Parliament opened with a
plenary session titled “Voices
of the Dispossessed” the purpose of which was to attempt
to give voice to the world’s
refugees, which at that time
numbered almost 20 million
according to U.N. estimates.
After a moving slide show
illustrating the plight of
those who are separated
from their homeland, speakers representing different
Continued on page 6.
MARCH MEETING RECAP
Working Networking on the ’Net
BY MARTHA TURNER
C
hris Benevich gave
IWOCers a whirlwind tour of the dizzying world of professional
networking internet-style at
the March meeting.
Professional networking
on the net is like professional
networking anywhere. You
listen to people, talk about
what you do, help others
with contacts or information
or advice when the opportunity arises, and let your
expertise be known in mostly
low-key ways. Thus you create a situation in which you
can ask for an introduction
or a favor, and in which others will readily refer work to
you.
The old internet—a place
where information was posted for viewing—has been
replaced by a more interactive iteration, complete with
the technology to support
casual exchanges (“web 2.0”).
As a result, professional
networking has entered the
cyber world in a pervasive
way. A lot of Benevich’s
presentation was devoted to
how and where basic networking practices transfer to
this new realm.
First, there is the information that you put up about
yourself: websites, blogs,
profiles. The unrelentingly
public nature of postings
on the web has changed
some basic assumptions.
Remember when resumes
tailored to specific jobs
stayed private—as if it were
harmful for a potential
employer to see that you
had competencies or experience other than the package desired? Think again.
Especially for a freelancer,
different websites tuned to
the needs of different markets is now evidence that
you have what it takes to
present a client appropriately to multiple markets, too!
Successful business blogging
needs a well-thought-out
plan—certainly not private
or unorganized material—
but it can be a way to show
a competent yet human
face to complete strangers,
perhaps hundreds of miles
away, and win
them as
clients.
Search
engine
optimization—making sure
your site
comes
up
early
in a
search (rather
than number 5,311) leverages such postings.
Websites are relatively
static, however; blogs are
more interesting if they are
updated frequently, and
most can accept comments
from readers, which sometimes develop into interactions. But Benevich showed
us some far more interactive
web venues.
Some of these might be
called conversations. Bulletin
boards, listservs, Yahoo
groups, and the like are
means by which people can
post a question, a problem, a
discovery, or an event—and
get responses. IWOCers
might wish to review several of these virtual communities, then maintain a
long-term presence on a few
that match their professional
interests closely: ones where
they could get a quick question answered (how would
you handle this contract
change? what would you do
with this editing problem?),
and where they could give
useful advice to others.
Beyond these, there are
hybrid sites—my term for
sites that offer multiple
blogs, job postings, bulletin
boards, freelancers’ profiles, calendars
of events, and
more, all on one
site: for
example,
www.
gapersblock.com is a
Chicago-oriented
general-interest version of this;
www.mediabistro.com is a
journalism-oriented national
version. Then there’s www.
linkedin.com, which works
according to a degrees-ofrelationship basis, that might
be good for getting someone you know to introduce
you to a potential client
you don’t know—if people
in your field are typically
linked in, that is.
Benevich’s own approach
is an integrated one, using
a little of several of these
technologies: two websites
(www.chrisbenevich.com
and www.writingforweb20.
com), a blog (which includes
case-studies from her work),
a twice-a-year e-newsletter,
and assorted profiles. She
also regularly scans sites
where she can be helpful,
replying or posting information as the opportunity presents itself.
Good deeds done on
the web are anything but
private. But reflect that
any answer you give to
someone’s question may
well be read by a dozen
others searching for just that
information. The hyperlinked web world is a little
different. But the networking
premise is familiar: when
people who are potential
referrers or potential clients
see you repeatedly as someone who is both competent
and generous, business is
likely to come your way
because of it. At the bottom
of it is Benevich’s professional philosophy: the more
you give, the more you will
receive. She says she tries to
give twice as much as she
gets.
It’s Happening on the Web!
Check Out Writers’ Line
Browse Resources
See What’s Doing in IWOC Events
WWW.IWOC.ORG
3
April Question of the Month
In What Way(s) Has IWOC
Helped You the Most?
Notes from the Board
Your IWOC board is really working hard for you
this year. We’re constantly searching for new benefits we can offer and new ways to market our services. Check out the items below that we’ve recently
added.
BY KAREN SCHWARTZ
Ellen Krupp: I consider
IWOC my “lifeline” (remember “Who Wants to
be a Millionaire?”)
I know there are
always people I
can call when I don’t
know the answer. I’ve asked
other IWOCers for advice
when faced with a rather
strange Request for Proposal,
when I was in over my head
on a project, when I accepted
a project but didn’t have a
clue how to do it and when
trying to figure out how to
structure a long-term agreement with a client. I know
I can count on my fellow
IWOCers for answers, help,
and support.
IWOC has also been
important in getting business, and I know that’s what
many people hope for and/
or expect when they become
members. When you join
IWOC, nearly everyone tells
you, “You’ll get more out
of IWOC the more involved
you become.” It’s true! Being
involved in IWOC gives
you a chance to know other
writers and have them know
you and your capabilities.
I can honestly say the time
I spent on the Board has
paid my dues many times
over. Even just being listed
on the IWOC website has
produced a few (not many,
but some) calls and a little
business. I’ve also had a
chance to refer a project to
another IWOCer when I was
too busy to take it on. I’d
much rather give the busi-
ness to someone I know than
have the client go out and
find another writer- a (gasp!)
stranger who wouldn’t be in
a position to return the favor
of a referral.
#####
You can win! Starting this month, anyone who
comes to an IWOC meeting is eligible to win a gift
card or other prize —value $20-25—that will be
useful to your business. You must be present to win.
Susan Baird: Mostly, I find
the directory to be very,
very helpful. Also,
it has continued
to improve, which
helps all of us. I
don’t look at the
“want ads” as often as I
should, but when I do, I find
them informative and helpful as well. It is to the benefit
of writers and those seeking
writers that Chicagoland has
this splendid organization.
5#####
Jennifer Lyng: My membership in IWOC has helped me
in two major ways. First is
that my three largest clients
have found me through the
IWOC website. One
is a company in
Finland for whom I
cover stories about
their local affiliates.
My income from this one
client after just a handful of
assignments has covered my
IWOC dues for the next few
decades.
The second major benefit
has been the mentoring relationships and friendships
that I’ve formed. This is a
talented group of individuals
who write on diverse topics
in many formats. Everyone
seems happy to help with
advice, an encouraging
word, and even referrals.
If you have a question you’d like answered in Question of the
Month, please send your suggestions either to Karen Schwartz at
[email protected] or Joen Kinnan at [email protected]
We welcome all suggestions whether work-related or not.
4
IWOC has purchased a year’s subscription to an
internet service called Constant Contact, through
which we can conduct surveys, such as the Rate
Survey, online—much easier and faster—and also
market IWOC to potential clients. Other uses might
include distributing an online-style newsletter both
to our members and to former members and meeting guests to ramp up membership. We can send out
thousands of pieces at once, so the sky’s the limit on
making contacts. Unfortunately, individual members won’t be able to use this subscription—a limited
number of people can have access—but the rates are
fairly modest, so you might want to check it out for
your personal use in building your business. They
have all sorts of tools to build mailing lists, conduct
surveys and polls, and much more. The address is
constantcontact.com.
— Joen Kinnan
IWOC Welcomes New Members
Cynthia Mikal
Ric Hess
And Returning Member
Eve Bradshaw
How Far Back? Uncovering the Beginnings of Words
This is yet another review in an irregular series devoted to books and
Internet sites that are popularly classified as reference source material.
BY RICHARD EASTLINE
The First Word / Christine Kenneally / 357 pp. (incl. bibliography, notes, and index) plus a prelude and an
introduction / Viking, a division of Penguin, 2007 / $19.00 (hard cover) / ISBN 978-0-670-03490-1
S
peech preceded writing, according to
researchers. But what
was the first word? Might
it have been a sound that
meant “go” or “me” or
“you” or, perhaps, “ouch”
(the earliest expletive)? Later
came the cave hieroglyphs,
the painted or incised runic
symbols of Scandinavia,
and the subsequent bark
and papyrus writings.
Somewhere, somehow the
origins of communication
developed and, by expansion, defined the means for
civilizations to exist. It is
language, after all, that measures our growth as cognitive primates. All the more
reason, then, to be tantalized
by the newest theories as to
the beginnings of our capability for expressing actions,
feelings, and inquiry.
This much-praised book
by Christine Kenneally
presents a narrative-based
account of the recent explorations into this polarized
topic of the evolution of
communication skills. It is
not at all a treatise or a compilation of research papers,
but rather a plain-English
summation of what has
been recently proposed as
the vindication of evolutionary growth as opposed to
a more strongly supported
view that language creation
is a genetic phenomenon
uniquely human. Such a
discourse may suggest an
ivy halls debate topic, but
Kenneally rescues the sub-
ject from potential reader
fatigue by her intertwining
of relevant findings with
essential fundamentals, such
as those that touch on the
connections when expressing
something, whether physical
or symbolic.
On the other hand, don’t
assume that this excursion
through word development
is treated in the style of a
Sunday magazine science
feature. There are references galore throughout
this investigative study, and
the reader will need to pay
attention as the credits roll
by. Stick with it, though, as
this probing author shakes,
rattles, and otherwise makes
ancient theories and modern
analyses stand up for inspection.
By all means, don’t take
a pass on the prelude and
introduction to the book,
in which Kenneally entices
you to continue, using some
impressive reasoning as well
as setting forth the outline
that identifies the characters
as well as incidents. One
of the most startling is the
sea change in approval, the
acceptance of pursuing the
origins of language. She
writes that as recently as a
few decades ago, the subject
was ignored—ostracized—
from study by linguists
because the prevailing philosophy was that there was
no definitive way to prove
how it came about. There
were no fossils, no frozen
sounds to be unearthed.
Now, it seems, this view
is changing, with both pro
and con
arguments
being
introduced
as the
result of
computer-driven
analyses of
skeletal
mouth
and
brain
forma-
tions, for example,
along with “biological” studies of language via artificial
intelligence. Taken together,
the vast level of investigation
continues to yield more and
more fundamental data.
The author has organized
her findings into four distinct sections; these constitute both an overview and
an inquisitive evaluation.
Part One is devoted to the
history of language study,
ranging from ancient Egypt
through Darwin to contemporary scholars and scientists. Among them is Noam
Chomsky, who has espoused
the humans-only genetic
theory, as contrasted with
Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, the
researcher who taught an
ape to produce and understand aspects of language. In
5
Part Two, Kenneally examines what she calls the “language suite,” abilities you
possess if you
have human
language—the
sounds, the
gestures, the
interaction.
Then, evolution
comes forth in
Part Three, giving attention to
that virus-like
characteristic
of language to
adapt itself so
that it may survive and develop.
An expected,
“What’s Next”
fills out Part Four,
followed by an epilogue
that ponders what would
happen if a shipwreck were
to deposit a collection of prelinguistic babies on a nearpristine Galapagos island.
While “The First Word”
focuses on speech rather
than writing as the keystone
for the primary discussion,
keep in mind that words are
what’s involved. As writers, our prose is both read
and spoken. (“I write for my
ears” was a familiar aphorism in the heyday of radio.)
In that regard, we ought to
find stimulation along with
curiosity if we let ourselves
follow along with Kenneally.
She is an extraordinary
guide and the path of exploration makes for an informed
journey.
President’s Column
Continued from page 2.
Calendar
nationalities and/or religions were given the opportunity to
tell their own tales of dispossession. One of them was a short,
well-spoken physicist in his late 40s from Kashmir, a country
divided by what is said to be the world’s most militarized
zone—a line of demarcation between governance by India
or Pakistan. The formation of this pseudo-national border in
1947 tore whole families apart—not by ideology or loyalty to
either government but by edict—and his was among them.
He told of the night his family was wakened, rousted from
their house, and split apart. He spoke of how for over 40
years, it had been illegal for him to be found in possession of
a letter either to or from his sister, who had been taken to the
other side of the border. He spoke of his arrest and imprisonment in a small room with 50 other men and how his jailors
peppered his rice with pebbles so that he could not eat it by
the handful but had to consume it grain-by-grain. And as he
spoke, a sense of passionate agitation swelled in his voice.
When he was almost finished and his passion near its crescendo, a Hindu dignitary seated directly in front of the dais
shot up from his chair and raised his finger at the speaker,
shouting epithets in Hindi. The speaker had been careful not
to mention the Indian government by name, but it the dignitary knew where the accusations were directed—and so did
everyone else. The act served as a trigger, and in moments,
the Grand Ballroom was filled with men in traditional Indian
garb standing and raising their fingers at the speaker, shouting him down in a language I didn’t understand.
The Parliament staff moved quickly to restore order but
seemed greatly confused. It was an outcome they hadn’t
expected. After a few minutes, the moderator took to the
podium and chided the audience that the outburst was especially inappropriate given the goal of the Parliament… he
received hearty but not overwhelming applause. Then the
next speaker came to the podium. He was a Sikh.
This man was tall and soft-spoken, erudite and calm. His
voice barely varied in tone as he described what amounted
to a campaign begun in the early 1980s to eradicate Sikhs—a
campaign that the U.N. estimated had cost over 100,000 Sikh
lives and destroyed numerous Sikh temples since 1983. Again,
he was careful to avoid direct mention of the Indian government… again, it didn’t matter.
Once again, the Hindu dignitary jumped to his feet and raised
his finger, shouting in Hindi. Once again, the Hindu chorus in
the ballroom followed suit. This time, though, the moderator figured he would nip things in the bud. He approached the speaker, put his hand on his shoulder, and asked him to stop. Politely
and without even the suggestion of annoyance, the speaker
complied… whereupon every Sikh in the room rose to his feet,
shouting, “Let him speak! Let him speak! This is why the world
does not know about this crime!”
I remember watching the hotel security detail. They seemed
flummoxed, caught unawares, as if they were thinking, “This
gathering is supposed to be about religion… how can this
happen?” To which I was silently replying, “Boys, this is a
gathering about religion… how can this NOT happen.”
They moved in anyway and escorted participants of both
persuasions from the room.
Now, the room was abuzz with a weird and powerful energy.
The moderator seemed addled, uncertain of whether or not to go
on. He made his way from speaker to speaker in an appar-
April 8
IWOC Monthly Meeting. An IWOC panel will discuss why an IWOC membership is a real investment
in improving your bottom line. You’ll learn how
others have made it pay off. Tuesday, April 8th at
National-Louis University, Room 5008, 122 S. Michigan
Ave., Chicago. Program 6 p.m. Networking 5 p.m.
Nonmembers, $15; IWOC members free. For more
information, call 847-855-6670 or visit www.iwoc.org.
The monthly food and networking get-togethers listed
below meet at the same time and place each month
unless otherwise noted, but call ahead in case of cancellation. The groups welcome nonmembers. If there’s no group in
your area, why not start one? Contact [email protected]
April 24 (4th Thursday)
IWOOP Monthly Lunch. Near-west suburbanites meet
at noon on the 4th Thursday of the month for lunch at
Poor Phil’s, 139 S. Marion St., Oak Park. For more info,
call Barb Dillard at 312/642-3065. This group doesn’t
always meet in bad weather in winter, so be sure to
check to see if there is to be a lunch meeting this month
before you show up.
May 1 (1st Thursday)
IWORP Monthly Breakfast. Join the Rogers Park
IWOC contingent for breakfast at 9 AM at the A&T Grill,
7036 N. Clark St.., Chicago. For more info, call Esther
Manewith at 773/274-6215.
6
ent attempt to form consensus or simply get counsel. The dignitaries in front of the dais argued among themselves.
Then two people down front—from all appearances nothing more than ordinary attendees like me—rose to their feet
and held hands, raising their voices in a harmonious chorus
of “We Shall Overcome.” In moments, the song swept like
wildfire through the ballroom, lifting everyone to their feet
and filling them with in an enlivening electricity… the current of good intentions doing good. The song rang out loud
and strong through the ballroom for several minutes, then
dissolved in a raucous eruption of cheers and applause.
We all sat down, happy and flushed with the sense of real
fellowship. The next speaker came to the podium… and the
session went on. The conflict had swelled our resolve. We’d
committed ourselves to overcoming and, by god, we would.
I’ve told that story before, and whenever I do, I usually
preface it by saying it demonstrates why Peace on Earth will
never come to pass… and also why it’s remotely possible.
I wonder how many frequent-flyer miles it takes to get to
Australia.
A
good
friend
of
mine
called
the
tainability;
and
actively
work
for
other
day
to
let
me
a
better
world.”
know
that
she
signed
up
to
volunteer
at
the
next
Parliament
of
the
World’s
Religions,
which
is
scheduled
to
be
held
in
Melbourne,
Australia
in
December
2009.
The
Parliament
is
a
gathering
of
people
from
around
the
world,
the
goal
of
which,
according
to
its
website,
is
“to
deepen
our
spirituality
and
experience
personal
transformation;
recognize
the
humanity
of
all
and
broaden
our
sense
of
community;
foster
mutual
understanding
and
respect;
learn
to
live
in
harmony
in
the
midst
of
diversity;
seek,
peace,
justice,
and
sus-